Have you ever wondered what a marathon is and how it came into being? Well…a marathon is a running event with a distance of 42.195 km. Most marathons take place in the form of a road race although there are some that are in the form of a cross country or on uneven roads. A full marathon is also the official distance of the final leg in an Ironman triathlon.
The origin of the marathon begins around 490BC at the time when the Persians were norinvading Greece. The most popular legend tells of a Greek messenger: Pheidippides who was tasked with the mission of informing the peoples of Athens that the Greeks have defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. Pheidippides who viewed the mission as important set off on foot and ran non-stop. Upon reaching the gates of Athens, he stormed into the government assembly and proclaimed the Greek victory where he fell to the ground and died thereafter due to exhaustion.
How then is the distance of the marathon derived? The distance of the two cities i.e., Greece and Athens is approximately 40.8km along the longest southern route. And this was also the route used during the first Olympic Games back in 1896. Ever since, the marathon has been part of the Olympics and it is also an endurance event to end the games. The standard distance for a marathon is now 42.195km which also explains why a half marathon is 21.1km.
Why are we then running marathons?
Running a marathon is tough especially for beginners. But what is it that draws the crowd as it seems to be the rage these days although it is not for everyone. Reasons differ from every individual why they chose to run in marathons and in my own opinion, these are the few:
- Test of your own endurance;
- Raise awareness and support causes;
- Healthy lifestyle and to keep running fit so long we can still run;
- It’s not a race with anyone but it’s your own race against your own clock;
- Run free and letting go of stress;
- Friendships and camaraderie are bonded. Support and encouragement during the runs;
- The tremendous fun and dynamics at the event and participants bursting with energies during the run. Been there, done that;
- The race shirt, the finisher shirt, medals, goodie bags, etc.
However before anyone should attempt to embark on the marathon journey, he or she should actually starts slow with patience and training is a must in preparation of this long and tedious but extremely rewarding journey. And you will see the smiles and joys once you have crossed the finishing line knowing that your hard work has paid off!
Quote from the Navy Seals motto: The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday. It Pays to be a Winner!
If you are ready to dive into the marathoner’s life you might find useful our articles “4 Classic Track Workouts For Long Distance Runners“, “5 Key Features to Consider While Choosing Headphones for Exercising” and so on.